Windsor Councillor Says Policing Is Not The Way To Solve Homeless Crisis

Ward 3 Councillor Rino Bortolin has a lot of sympathy for the residents who have found homeless people in their yards.

Jackson Park area resident Jenny Berkeley has created a petition calling on the city to take action on the issue.

Bortolin agrees it's annoying and uncomfortable when you find someone camping in your yard as Berkeley did.

He says the opioid crisis is clearly a piece of what's happening.

"A lot of these people are not homeless, they are definitely on hard times and they're turning to petty crime sometimes to feed their addiction and things like that.  But these issues especially when we look at the increase of the opioid issues, they're across our community," says Bortolin.

While he isn't opposed to the new Problem Oriented Policing unit, he isn't sure that's the solution.

"But is it the best way to approach the issue?  When you have someone in the instance that you had earlier in the clip,  when someone wakes up to somebody sleeping in their backyard, Windsor police are not the best people to deal with those situations."

According to Bortolin, Hamilton has a policing approach that helps people get the help they need.

"We have a lot of these great programs, what we're missing is that outreach program that bridges the gap from someone in somebody's backyard where police are responding, to actually getting the help in those agencies," he says. "That bridge can be done by community policing where we actually add social workers and mental health workers and crisis workers."

Downtown Mission Executive Director Ron Dunn also questions whether putting people in jail solves the problem.

He says developing programs to assist the people in crisis may do more good.